Trust Our Land: Time to get resilient |

Trust Our Land: Time to get resilient

Oliver Skelly
Eagle Valley Land Trust
Climate resilience can mean anything from improved irrigation techniques to restoring native grasslands.
Eagle Valley Land Trust

Welp. Another year, another sobering report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Rather than attempt 500 words to summarize 4,000 pages of technocratic despair, take it from contributing author and leading climate scientist, Kim Cobb, Ph.D.: “We are out of time.”

Time is undoubtedly of the essence. Two weeks’ time it took for the rubble to be cleared from Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon after a historic landslide resulting from last year’s fires. 20 years of drought before the federal government declared an official shortage on the Colorado River this week. Subscribe to Dr. Cobb’s words or not, the long-term resiliency of our landscapes and waterways remains a lingering question.

A few answers to that question may be arriving from Washington D.C.; a $1 trillion infrastructure bill left the Senate chamber last week and is on its way to the House floor. While a majority of the legislation is catered toward run-of-the-mill infrastructure like roads and bridges, there is a notable allocation for the parched Southwest: $50 billion for Resilience and Western Water Infrastructure.

Coloradans who have seen firsthand the ravages of drought and wildfire would welcome additional resources toward a more resilient future. In the meantime, what are some local happenings that address climate resilience? What even is climate resilience?

Still a novel concept, the underlying principle of climate resilience is the ability to anticipate and respond to hazardous events related to climate. Knowing that wildfires are going to continue and grow more severe, for example, local governments adopt land use plans to reflect that enhanced risk.

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With a mission to conserve forever, it’s far-flung concerns like climate resilience and loss of biodiversity that spur Eagle Valley Land Trust to clear the table, order the pizza, and get out the markers. It’s why Eagle Valley Land Trust is part of the Climate Action Collaborative devising ways to bring natural climate solutions to Eagle County. It’s why, when we talk about biodiversity, the question isn’t how to protect piecemeal habitat, it’s this: How do we save the Southern Elk Herd through landscape scale conservation?

None of that’s to say behavior change isn’t part of the puzzle, for it most certainly is and will continue to be. But the IPCC’s report, positing the inevitability of climate change and its associated risks, suggest that a prudent eye be turned toward resilience. Whether it’s conserving riparian corridors for healthy rivers, habitat restoration projects through private lands conservation or encouraging climate-smart methods on working lands, Eagle Valley Land Trust’s work aims to reflect that suggestion.

Have ideas or questions about climate resilience and land conservation? Write us at

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